A year later, the Taliban intensify their fight to educate Afghan girls

Afghanistan Bamiyan –

Zahra Wafa’s face was heavy as she thought about what she had to do so that her daughter could go to school.

She and her husband ate bread just to send their children to school, she recounted, because they had to give them a chance for a future without dirt roads, hand pump wells and electricity, outside the village of Nawa Foladi in central Afghanistan.

Then, Wafa recalls the new reality of the Taliban government, her voice weakening, and she thinks it might all be for nothing.

“We work hard, spend a lot of money, they’re smart. Now they just sit in the front?”

A year after the sudden collapse of the US-backed republic and Islamist militants in power, Wafa and her children, as well as many women and girls in Afghanistan, are fighting against The Taliban’s brutal view of the country and their plans to transform the country. only. Because it only appears in education, as well as in social life.

The organization says it is not interested in reintroducing a system dating back to the 1990s, when girls were banned from school and virtually all jobs, with corporal punishment for violations. such as not wearing a veil in public. But every few months, new regulations are issued about what jobs women can do, how far they can go without a male guardian, and whether they can wear it outside. The decree stipulates that the most religious women will not leave the house if necessary.

The Afghans spent the evening on the highway.

Earlier this month, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Discipline Promotion and Prevention of Corruption – located in a building that formerly housed the Ministry of Women – ordered women to stay away from theme parks. A few days later, they were banned from the sexist gym and hammam.

Secondary education is a very interesting place. Last fall, the government allowed Afghan girls to attend primary and tertiary education, promising to resume high school at the start of the new school year on March 23. But when students started going to school that day, officials changed the curriculum and suspended classes indefinitely “until a comprehensive plan was consistent with Sharia law and Afghan culture.” developed.”

Last month, he allowed 12th graders before the fall of the republic to call dangerous college entrance exams, but blocked subjects deemed unsuitable for young women, including economics , engineering, journalism and veterinary medicine.

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Preventing girls from going to school has a major impact on one of the world’s poorest countries. International humanitarian organizations, which currently support about half of Afghanistan’s population, see the school’s transformation as a turning point in their willingness to donate. Western governments have long cited women’s rights as a key reason for running Afghanistan, arguing that women’s advancement is a rare bright spot in the country’s 20-year development experiment.

Even Afghan businessmen who have lived abroad and want to return, or take advantage of the war at its lowest level in 40 years, have changed their ways.

Sulaiman said: “Before this decision, the mood was very optimistic. Late last year, people started to feel they were going in a safe and good direction. But when they stopped opening, the game changed.” . Bin Shah is a former official at the Afghan Ministry of Trade and Industry in Kabul.

All accumulated energy is gone. The sponsors abandoned their plans. In the spring, people who plan to invest also have children, want to raise them, so they keep everything and go with their families.

In the face of international condemnation, Taliban officials say they are following Islamic law instead of defending women’s rights, which are used by the West as a big stick to punish them for winning the war. fight. He noted that the country was the most peaceful in decades, meaning many children, including girls, went to school and the emirate was built on the ruins of a defeated republic. more clearly reflect the aspirations of the majority of Afghans.

The latter method can be applied to conservative areas in the south of the country, such as Kandahar, where the Taliban first emerged.

But other regions are forcing women in the US-backed republic to live less isolated and giving them the freedoms they support.

Bamyan is a beautiful province in central Afghanistan dominated by the Hazaras, a Shiite Muslim minority persecuted by the Taliban and loyal to the American project. Here, instead of a monochrome cover, women wear brightly colored headscarves and brave the streets despite warnings from the Taliban’s moral police force. During the Republic of China era, they took advantage of the American occupation and became doctors, lawyers, soldiers, and journalists.

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Wafa thinks now he will lose everything. The oldest, 20-year-old Mina Ibrahimi, completed 12th grade before the Taliban took over; He wants to study law and become a member of parliament or Afghanistan’s representative to the United Nations.

“Nothing will happen now,” said Ibrahimi.

She waited more than a year for approval, but she couldn’t be bothered to apply for law or anything outside of medicine, one of the areas where women could work under the Taliban regime. .

“The Taliban don’t care about the constitution or women’s rights. If this continues, law graduates won’t be hired,” he said.

At least she won’t be in trouble like Zainap-san. Zainab, 10th grade, 16 years old, I will become a doctor, if she finishes her studies, her dream will come true. But once the school closes, Ibrahimi’s class will be the last Afghan girls and women to attend college.

“When the Taliban first took power, my mother suffered the consequences. Today, 20 years later, we are suffering the same consequences,” said Ibrahimi as he saw Wafa staring at the ground. frowning, tears welling up in her eyes.

“When the Taliban were defeated, I thought I would never come back, it was like a new world,” Wafa said with a laugh.

With newfound freedoms after the fall of the first Taliban regime in 2001, she and her husband, Mohammad Ibrahim Mohammadi, a 46-year-old farmer and laborer, did what they could to raise their children. – two daughters and three sons – with an education.

This is still true. After the Taliban took over, Wafa rented a room to girls in Bamyan and gave them private English lessons with 500 Afghans (nearly $6 a month). He said that computer courses are expensive.

For daily life, Wafa usually wakes up in the morning after sunrise, walks 30 minutes from Nawa Foladi to the road or elsewhere, then takes an hour’s taxi to a craft shop in town. Central market and work all day, come home in the evening to cook on the stove with cow dung and wash clothes in the nearby river.

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The store used to bring in 25,000 afghanis, or about $300 a month. Now, she earns less than a third of that, and about a quarter of her income comes from childcare insurance.

I have to work for the family,” she said, adding that her husband has responsibilities in the family, but her income is barely enough to pay for the children’s education.

Rather than wait for the central government to change its stance on girls’ secondary education, teacher and activist Tayba Rahim decided to seek a compromise solution with local Taliban officials. , especially in regions that favor a strict Islamic interpretation. . He heads Nai Qala, an education-oriented organization that builds schools and trains teachers, mainly in rural areas of the central and northern provinces.

Taiba Rahim, left, leads the team building participants.

In May, they opened their latest project, a sixth grade school for students aged 7 to 16, including girls. This is a victory, Rahim said after convincing Taliban managers of the benefits of educating girls in his village, reducing poverty and providing services to women and children.

“As a woman, as a Hazara, I have to tell the Taliban that I don’t like them. But I can’t close my eyes: this is the reality of this country,” Rahim said.

“We are struggling and wasting a lot of time. We need to create a common vision. There is so much poverty here. These people don’t have the time, the time or the choice to go to school. “

Mina Ibrahimi’s Kankor results were announced last month. The highest score went to a girl from Nava Foladi School, which is still closed. However, according to local media reports, unlike the Afghan schoolgirls who received the highest marks two years ago, no one made the top 10 this year.

Ibrahim was admitted to the Kabul Medical University majoring in public health. Wafa doesn’t know how to pay, but she’ll go crazy if she doesn’t try.

“When the Taliban first came to power, we were ignorant and didn’t know our rights.